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Inside Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy’s formidable bond and how they launched LIV crusade


The phrase ‘never meet your heroes’ is a well used one, but for world No. 1 golfer Rory McIlroy this could not be more wrong. For a certain generation their hero on the golf course was – and still is – the great Tiger Woods, and McIlroy is certainly in that bracket.

The majority of the sport’s big name players asserting their dominance on the golfing world at the moment all grew up and broke into the game inspired by the 15-time major champion, and the Northern Irishman is definitely no different. The difference with McIlroy though is not only has he been able to play alongside his golfing idol, but also form a bond like no other out on the PGA Tour.

When the four-time major champion broke onto the scene just over a decade ago, McIlroy’s name was the one on everybody’s lips, and nobody was impressed more than the great Woods.

Their relationship first blossomed when starlet McIlroy joined Woods in being sponsored by Nike in 2012. Since then the pair have become close friends on and off the course, but a decade on no one could have predicted just how important their relationship would be.

Across the last 20 years both Woods and McIlroy have been arguably the biggest faces on the PGA Tour. When and where the two stars play many often come to watch, but now their role as the Tour’s two biggest trophies has become all the more imperative.

2022 has been a year like no other in the sport following the emergence of LIV Golf. Led by former world No. 1 Greg Norman, LIV has looked to lure in a number of big names from the PGA Tour thanks to lucrative signing fees and prize pots – funded by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund – and have had some success.

Big names such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka have all made the controversial Saudi switch, but golf’s two biggest prized possessions have pledged their allegiances to the PGA Tour. LIV and the PGA Tour have found themselves locked in war following the former’s inception earlier this year.

In a way to fend of the growth of the breakaway circuit, the US-based tour suspended any players who decided to sign on the mega-money dotted line with Norman and co. This only added fuel to the fire though, with golf’s civil war now being battled out in the courtroom, with both sides filing lawsuits against the other, as they bid to be the sport’s top Tour.

The key trump card the PGA Tour had in this battle was the power and influence of Woods and McIlroy, and the US-based circuit played this early on. From the very beginning the pair had spoken openly against LIV, and were arguably its biggest critics.

Their ever-growing relationship was about to get a whole lot bigger and more important though in the PGA Tour’s crusade against their new-found rivals. Alongside each other the pair have seemingly worked tirelessly in support of the Texas-based circuit during golf’s year of war.

Both Woods and McIlroy have been used as key vocal point, as the duo led an elite PGA Tour player meeting in Delaware amid the LIV threat, with the reported topic of conversation being to keep the world’s top players on side. There is no doubt the PGA-LIV battle had brought the pair closer together, and in August their relationship went to a whole-new level.

As well as being playing partners and close friends, Woods and McIlroy then announced they had become business partners following the formation of TMRW Sports. The pair confirmed they were spearheading a new innovative arena-based golf event in conjunction with the PGA Tour which would kick off in 2024.

Source : Mirror